Monday, June 05, 2006

The Hedgerow Project - part 1

We have recently (May 2005) moved to Kingsthorpe towards the North-West edge of Northampton. The house was built in 1985 but the garden has mainly been left to lawn. Within the bounday of the property are 3 of a long line of mature Lime Trees. The rear of the garden has a low fence with views over the Nene River towards Duston.

We want to develop the garden to be both attractive to view and wildlife friendly (in particular birds). So far we have decided on four features for our garden:

  • A Wild Area with tall grasses, some nettles and decaying wood, etc. This should encourage insects, snails, butterflies, etc.
  • Some fruit trees with a wildflower meadow
  • A vegetable patch to grow some basic vegetables for our own consumption
  • A natural hedgerow, which will extend for around 26 metres along the rear boundary of the garden.

You can see here the existing fence and some of the depth of view:

In addition, in the middle of the back fence was this decking 'feature' which was very old and contained a lot of wood and concrete:

Our first job therefore was to remove this decking so it's not in the way for digging the soil, come the autumn:

You can also see the growth of the base plants and weeds in just 6 weeks, between the top and bottom pictures.

This series of posts will focus on the progress of The Hedge Project over the coming years, until we have we hope a significant source of habitat and food to support more birds locally.


We are planning a natural hedgerow but utilising some of the existing plants including the Buddliea (which is the 'gateway' into the garden feeding area for the smaller birds). Based on a 2-deep, 26 metre long hedegrow we calculated (see this planting layout: we will need approximately 130 plants. Based on the suggested distribution ( this breaks down to:

100 Hawthorns
3 Rowans
5 Hazels
2 Crab Apples
4 Roses
3 Blackthorn
4 Holly
3 Guilder Rose
2 Honeysuckle
1 Old Man's Beard
1 Damson
plus the existing Buddliea.

For the fruit trees we looked at the polination patterns (check this link for the trees and the pollination guides: and decided upon:

Invincible and Beth Pears, Russett and Scrupmtious Apples and Opal plum.

More useful links:

This link appears to be a reference tool for schools planting hedgerows but has some valuable advice: and was our first point of reference for this project.

More updates to follow in the autumn when it's time for digging and planting!


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